Toward a More Diverse Counseling Field

Multiethnic Group of University students relaxing outside

Scholarships awarded to historically underrepresented students

Students from nearly every state in the U.S., three U.S. territories and 43 countries around the world have earned master's degrees from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Despite this impressive global reach, students of color have historically been underrepresented among the ranks of aspiring addiction counselors.

In an effort to provide greater financial access to students of color, the Graduate School's former head, Tim Sheehan, PhD, and his wife, Mary Sheehan, funded three summer-semester 2021 scholarships.

Every year, a number of graduates take positions within Hazelden Betty Ford's national system of care while other graduates join hospital systems, community-based programs, public agencies and nonprofit organizations around the country. "By preparing more students—and particularly students from diverse backgrounds—to be counselors, we can reach many more individuals, families and communities who might otherwise be left behind," says Dr. Sheehan.

We look forward to sharing more stories of our scholarship recipients and the generous donors who are making it possible for them to pursue their studies in future issues of TOGETHER.

Meet the three outstanding recipients of the Sheehan Scholarship

Bryan Garcia

Undergraduate Degree
BA in Music Performance and MA in Music-Vocal Performance
Graduation: December 2021

Bryan Garcia

"I grew up in a low-income, single-mother, Latino household in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Like many of my peers, I found drugs and alcohol at an early age. Fortunately, academic talent and a passion for music carried me into college and graduate school at Florida State University, where I ultimately got sober.

Since then, I've dedicated myself to studying the Twelve Steps and assisting others who are new to sobriety. My work with adolescents has had a major impact on me, first as a teaching artist for an after-school music program in Minneapolis that serves high-risk youth and today as a residential counselor at an adolescent mental health center. I work with many young people of color and LGBTQIA+ youth who struggle with the effects of unresolved trauma including substance use, self-injurious behavior and suicidal ideation.

Through these experiences, combined with my graduate studies, I have a deeper understanding of the different counseling approaches one must have regarding culture, family history and differing life situations."

Archana Sathy

Undergraduate Degree
BS in Psychology
Anticipated Graduation: December 2022

Archana Sathy

"Two years into my undergraduate program in computer engineering, I changed my major and graduated with a psychology degree. I'd begun to see a loved one spiral downward with addiction and mental health issues. All I wanted to do was learn more about mental health diagnoses, what addiction meant and ways to help my family member.

The more I immerse myself in the field of mental health and addiction, the more I realize there are not many Asian people, specifically Indian people, working in the profession. I also haven't come across many clients who have the same ethnic background as myself. This makes me think about my own family, and the secrets and stigma that come with addiction.

As an addiction counselor, I will be dedicated to assisting those who look like me—and those who do not look like me—in receiving the care, guidance and support they need and deserve. Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate based upon race, color or creed."

Tina Tseng

Undergraduate Degree
BA in Psychology
Anticipated Graduation: December 2023

Tina Tseng

"I am a 36-year-old, first-generation-born Chinese American. Since the age of 14, I've wanted to become a counselor to better understand human behaviors and the challenges I face as an Asian American. From a young age, I had feelings of depression, and as I grew older, substance use and addictive behaviors along with past trauma started manifesting in my life.

Without going into detail about my substance use history, I've been sober since 2013. My passion for serving others blossomed during the past eight years, which eventually led to my decision to focus my career on addiction counseling.

I currently work as a drug and alcohol counselor at an outpatient treatment center while pursing my master's degree. My graduate school experience continues to enrich my counseling skills. I'm gaining experience and knowledge in trauma-informed, culturally sensitive and holistic counseling practices. In addition to becoming a licensed professional counselor, I hope to eventually gain expertise in the field of addiction and mental health research."

Your Support Extends the Reach of Recovery

The need for highly trained addiction professionals has never been greater, and the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies is leading the way in meeting that demand.

Thanks to generous donors like Marlene Sanchez-Dooner and Brian Dooner, Anne and Bill Parker, Carol and Bennett Rosenthal, Mary and Tim Sheehan, and many others, aspiring counselors are able to follow their dreams of helping people reclaim their lives from addiction.

Nearly 70 percent of our graduate students rely on some level of financial aid to pursue their studies. Your gift can make an incredible, lifesaving difference because a single counselor could be the key to recovery for hundreds if not thousands of people over the course of their career.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies sets the standard in quality and convenience. Our blend of evidence-based coursework and clinical practicums gives you the coveted opportunity to learn from recognized experts at the nation's leading nonprofit addiction treatment center. 

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